Ghana: Youth Skills Development Dynamics Amidst Covid-19

Education and skills-building have been among the first casualties of the pandemic, covid-19. We need to explore what opportunities young people have for skills-building as social distancing continues to challenge training and learning, and with unemployment throughout the entire COVID-19 era especially due to our cluelessness as to when it will ever be eradicated globally. It is highly essential for the young people to build their skills and harness their individual talents which is critical to both nation-building and the development of an informed society.

Covid-19 has impacted greatly and enormously on livelihood to the extent that, it has altered many existing structures globally such as Governance, Education, Health, Employment and the Economy in its entirety. According to the UN SDSN Youth, when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, there was widespread agreement on the fact that the international community's progress towards a sustainable future should be a matter of utmost importance for all in existence, but particularly for the youth. Therefore, as future leaders, it is our youth who possess the key to a better, sustainable world.

COVID-19 has led to the closure of schools and most academic institutions have been forced to move their lectures online. Generally, learning came to a halt for many institutions as they scramble to think of solutions to help them continue delivering skills training in a socially-distanced environment. The Executive Director of Kandifo Institute, Mr. Palgrave Boakye-Danquah in a recent interview with Global FmHo, indicated that online education was the way to go looking at our current predicament globally and that this is the time for us to change the narrative and develop positive attitudes towards education by tasking the youth to take advantage of many opportunities like online studies to while away time rather than staying unproductive for the rest of their lives.

Clearly, training and capacity building have become critical pillars in this recent outbreak. For instance, The World Economic Forum conducted a research dubbed: "The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how" which in the same line suggests that virtual education is the new normal and has proven to be less time consuming and have increased retention of information.As a newly appointed Academic Advisor for DPU, a renowned University in India, Mr. Palgrave Boakye-Danquah wishes to use this medium to encourage young people to chase after their dreams. "We should not put our lives on hold because of covid, rather, we should embrace it and make the best out of it. We never know, but some potentials and talents could be discovered along the journey".

In the same manner, the Pandemic has come to change an entire system and structure in the field of employment, leaving the youth no option than to develop more skills, most especially soft skills as they tend to be actually what many employers look for in candidates.Mr. Palgrave Boakye-Danquah emphasized this in a training session on Zoom for Job Seekers (youth). It was a collaboration between Kandifo Institute and Youth Employment Agency (YEA) back in 5th June, 2020. It is therefore important that those populations delve into job creation. Fortunately, most millennials/youth are primarily digital natives who possess the ability to turn the tide by taking the entrepreneurship conversation to social media. Technology has advanced even in most low and middle-income-countries and offers the incentive to create fresh and innovative content through videos, photos, and written narratives that allow the youth tell their story and so it is crucial for the youth to develop that skill. It will be rewarding for the generation to be upskilled in using these digital platforms to market themselves (their skills), their businesses and their flexibility.

Globally, it has been estimated that young people are 1.6 times more likely than older adults to become entrepreneurs, have higher literacy rates, and are more networked than the global population as a whole. In fact, in the world's least developed countries, young people are nearly three times more likely than the general population to be using the internet. The least they can do is to build on their skills to acquire prerequisite skills which could be adapted when rendering services to their respective organisational settings. We have a duty to contribute to the development of our nation as a youth and we cannot succeed in that with no or less skill. We must change our ways and develop stronger and better skills for the benefit of all and across the globe.

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